Carry On Warrior

Last week, I read Carry On Warrior which is a collection of essays by Glennon Doyle, whose writing I adore. She is very funny and very honest, and I have almost never read an essay she wrote without laughing, crying, or laugh-crying. My very favorites are her essays on parenting.

Growing up very self-aware about the shenanigans we put our parents through (Sorry about the time we thought it’d be funny to pull K to the second floor using an elevator made of a rope and a canoe seat!) I always thought essays and books about parenting were entertaining. But there’s a caveat- only when they are very very honest. Funny is a plus. I’m not really interested in capital-P-parenting books. I know some people love them, and since A was born I have had no shortage of suggestions of books I should read on various parenting “methods”. But I’m just not sure parenting is something you can apply a methodology to. I think most parents do their best with what they have and what they know. And sure, books about certain sleep techniques or philosophies on discipline can be great- so long as you don’t take them too seriously. And by that I mean, accept that they might work for you and your kids (or parts might, and other parts might not) but that doesn’t mean it’s right for every parent or every kid. Essentially, I think we all need to go into this parenting thing with a lot more acceptance and humor, and a little less judgement, thank you very much. I’m plenty good at beating myself up about all the ways I’m screwing up at parenting, I definitely don’t need any help from family and friends and definitely not strangers in that department.

This gets completely compounded when you have a blended family. When H and I were dating and it was getting serious, I started to think about what types of things I wanted to eventually do with my own kids, not because I was in a hurry, but because he had the twins, and I wanted to be conscious of going ahead and starting some of those traditions with them. I never wanted them to be able to say later that I did something with my own kids that I didn’t do with them. I don’t want them to feel like my stepkids. I kinda hate that “step” word. Sometimes we use it for clarity purposes, but most of the time I just say “my kids”. I’ve always told them that I know they have a mom, and I’m not trying to replace her. But I think of them as my kids, the same way I think of A. But sometimes, because I’m trying so hard to do everything for them that I might someday do for A, I get in too deep.

For example, I’m a PTO dropout. Twice. That’s right, I’m such an overachiever that I quit twice. It became evident very quickly that the PTO wasn’t for me. I only made it to one meeting last year. I’m sure that the PTO moms are great people, but from what I gathered at the first meeting, almost none of them work outside the home. And look, I’m not trying to talk smack about stay-at-home moms. I am careful with my language here because these ladies are working- they just have a more flexible schedule than I do. And short of someone getting me a magic carpet, I can’t get to a 6pm meeting at the school. I also can’t come hand out fundraiser prizes at 10am on a Tuesday. This knowledge didn’t keep me from kind of forgetting over the summer how awful it made me feel, signing up again this year, and quitting again.

Here’s the thing though: the PTO needs dedicated members to do their work. And me being there out of guilt, stressed out because my availability keeps me from signing up for things isn’t helping them. Also, seeing me flustered about getting to a PTO meeting isn’t making the twins feel loved and important. It’s making them feel like a burden which is the last thing I want.

Last Saturday, I went to a workshop in church on discovering your spiritual gifts. Everyone’s are different and we can all serve in unique ways. The PTO isn’t it for me, but it doesn’t make me better or worse than the moms who serve there.

Glennon Doyle has an essay about a phenomenon any young mom can relate to- older women (and sometimes men) telling us to savor every moment because they go by so fast. She ruminates on the fact that these comments always seem to come at a moment that maybe we wish would go by a little faster like when our kids are throwing a fit in the checkout line. She says she hopes to remember this when she’s older and (in a section that always makes me laugh-cry) say instead:

It’s helluva hard, isn’t it? You’re a good mom, I can tell. And I like your kids, especially that one peeing in the corner. She’s my favorite. Carry on, warrior. Six hours till bedtime.”

Anyway, it’s my kind of advice. I think all 20 year old women who want to have kids one day should write down all their ideas about parenting… so when they have kids they can open them and laugh and laugh. Despite my insistence that my kid wouldn’t watch TV (and even though I do limit her screen time) my kid’s an Elmo junkie. She also still takes a sippy cup of milk to bed, and we’re working on giving it up, but ya know what, Mama’s are people too, and they have jobs, and have to get at least a little sleep in order to be a functioning human.

We’re all doing the best we can.


Year of Yes

Ok, so I finished reading Year of Yes almost two weeks ago. And I’ve changed my mind a few times about how to write about it. I guess there are several important things to know.

First of all, I love me some Shondaland. I started watching Grey’s Anatomy in college and even though it’s definitely not as good as it used to be, I feel committed to seeing it through. I really loved the first season of Scandal, when it was kind of procedural before everyone was getting kidnapped all the damn time. I stopped watching it for a while but recently caught up since it’s the last season. Now, How To Get Away With Murder is my jam. There’s mystery, there’s time jumps, there’s law and politics and intrigue. I’m a fan. All this goes to say, this book has been on my ‘to read’ list since it came out.

The second thing is, and I don’t really know how to explain this without it getting a little embarrassing- I love memoirs. Especially by women. Especially women out to do some sort of quest or challenge. I have heard all the criticisms- it’s unrealistic, no “normal” person with a job could go off and do these things, it’s all embellished. Yeah, I hear you. I just don’t care. I will continue to devour them, imagine myself into them, and glean life lessons that may or may not actually be applicable or the message they were trying to get across. The best example of this is that I LOVED Eat Pray Love (at some point I will just do a whole post on it). And it doesn’t bother me that only someone with a book advance who was already wealthy could go on this trip. It doesn’t bother me that the author has since divorced the soul mate she met on this trip. None of this takes away the things that I thought and felt while reading it. And none of it takes away the dog eared highlighted pages I sometimes go back to.

I think my love of memoir is at least partially rooted in the fact that I dream of writing one. (About what exactly, you ask… and I don’t have an answer.) Sometimes I catch myself narrating my own life, or writing passages in my head. And man, I am a best-selling autobiographer in my head. But since it’s my head I guess my audience is a little biased. Maybe someday I’ll write a book on being a stepmother to teenagers but I better wait a few years and make sure we all survive first.

Anyway, despite my love of both memoir and Shonda, this was not the book I was looking for at the library that day. I was actually looking for another memoir that I’m finishing now and will write about soon. But it was checked out, so I looked down my list and grabbed Year of Yes.

I read it in 2 nights, y’all.

In the introduction, Shonda talks about how her year of yes- a year in which she would say yes to all sorts of experiences which made her uncomfortable- started with her sister telling her “you never say yes to anything.”

Well, H told me pretty much the same thing right before Christmas.

So I was hooked.

So, while I read about Shonda pushing through her discomfort to say yes to speeches, talk shows, and awards ceremonies, I thought about pushing through my need for control to say yes to H’s ideas- in our finances, in parenting, and in how we spend out time.

It’s not like I didn’t know that I’m a control freak, or that it really gets in the way of happiness sometimes. But once H pointed it out to me, I couldn’t stop seeing it. And reading through Shonda’s stories was like someone was holding up a huge mirror and I couldn’t ignore it.

I wrote “Yes.” on the corner of the white board on the kitchen, and one of my goals for February is to try to say yes to H and the kids more often. I guess more accurately, to make yes my default answer instead of no. I have a hunch that the world isn’t going to end if I loosen up and do things someone else’s way for once. It feels to me like it might, but I don’t think it will.

As a side note: no one has asked me why the corner of the white board says yes. Probably because I’m known to write myself little notes and questions I want to look into up there. Whatever occurs to me when I’m washing dishes or cooking dinner. The only other thing up there right now is “Does the word platonic have anything to do with Plato?” I’m going to look that up when I finish this post.

Letting go of my very tight grip on our family’s life is not going to be easy for me. At all. But now that I’m conscious of it, I see how silly some of my “no”s really are sometimes. It’s just my default answer, and that’s not fair to anyone. Maybe if I say yes to a few more things, I’ll have something to write in that memoir.

A Simplified Life

Wouldn’t it be nice if reading a book called A Simplified Life was enough to make life simple?

I love Christmas. Love it. I am a little Christmas elf at heart. But pretty much by December 28th-ish, I am ready to get back to routine. Because as much as I capital-L-love Christmas- I am a creature of habit.

You would think that being a type-A color coding planner freak would be an indication that I’m good at organizing and simplifying and such. You’d be wrong. Here’s the freaky way that part of my personality manifests itself: I WANT so badly to have everything in its place and to have routines and chore charts and perfectly styled bookshelves. Reality is a little bit different. I mostly spend a lot of time organizing and then become twitchy and annoyed when the other four people who live in my house don’t abide by my system. Sometimes, I am probably justified in my annoyance- like when no one in my family can put the dryer lint in the trash even though I have hung a little trash bag right by the dryer. Other times, it’s that they didn’t put the orange juice back in the correct place in the fridge which is a little less reasonable.

As I’ve been purging the house a la Marie Kondo and getting back into the swing of things, I read A Simplified Life. I’ll be honest, there’s not a lot in here that isn’t common sense or something your grandmother could have taught you. But here’s some things I like and that I’m trying to implement:

1. Simplified wardrobe and makeup. I did a big purge of my closet and I tried to keep things that I could mix and match and that keep things nice and easy. I’m not at capsule wardrobe level, but I cut down a lot. Also I am down to one small makeup bag. I’m not makeup-crazy and I had a lot of stuff I didn’t use. I took away all the choices and just kept my favorite of each product. I think becoming a mom was what finally pushed me to do this. Since I have to get A ready and out the door as well as myself it’s easier to stick to basics, and I’m less flustered in the morning.

2. Putting more margin into my calendar. I am so guilty of planning out every second and not leaving time to do important things like pee, read a book, or drive from one place to another.

3. Cleaning off my phone. I got rid of lots of apps, organized the ones I kept, and started a system for backing up photos each month and deleting the random screenshots and weird photos that don’t need to be saved. I also turned off almost all notifications so I’m not constantly checking my phone.

4. Making room for my goals and projects. One of the things Emily Ley says a lot is “you can’t get water from an empty well”. I can’t give to anyone else if I’m not taking care of myself.

Each of these are things that effect me only. And that’s on purpose. I’m hoping if I focus on myself rather than trying to bend the rest of the house to my will, that the rest will fall into place. I can’t be happy and neither can anyone else when my organizing and strict schedules are unrealistic. I’m disappointed and everyone else feels like a failure. Not exactly a recipe for success.

Anyway, I’m giving A Simplified Life a place of honor on my entertainment center where I’ll see it and it can remind me what I’m working toward. Doesn’t hurt that it’s pretty.

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up


Yeah, I’m a little late to the party, but it’s a timely for New Years, right? I listened to the audiobook of The Lifechanging Magic of Tidying Up over New Years weekend, while cleaning and purging our apartment of junk. I didn’t use the exact KonMari method, but I did try to put some of the principles into practice as I went.

No matter how many times I hear that you can start goals anytime or that there’s nothing magic about January 1, I can’t help but feel like it’s just a little magic. And January 1 falling on a Monday. That’s pretty magical. The downside to all that magic and inspiration I felt all weekend is that rather than enjoy the long weekend I mostly ran around like crazy trying to finish all my tidying and organizing by the end of New Years Day, so that I could complete my perfect new nighttime routine, put on matching pajamas, and go to bed early so I could wake up this morning refreshed and have a great start to the new year.

Ok, so here’s what actually happened. I got about 2/3 of my projects done, but my car didn’t get cleaned out, so all the stuff I purged is still sitting in the hallway, just ripe for H and the kids to go through pulling things out and ask why I’m getting rid of them. It’s hard to purge clothes when you have a ton of laundry to do, so that’s a gradual process. I overslept this morning, having not washed my face or worn matching pajamas to bed. Bah humbug.

But, progress is progress. And the kitchen is clean, organized and clutter free. There is no more “junk basket” where we throw all the things that don’t have a home. I love the ideas in Life Changing Magic even if some are a little eastern philosophy for me. Even as someone who is careful not to hurt my stuffed animals’ feelings, I can’t bring myself to thank a sweater for its service before tossing it in the donate pile. Probably my favorite is that there’s no guilt involved in purging the clutter. Sometimes I feel like I can’t get rid of something because I spent money on it. But, Marie Kondo would say that it served its purpose by the inspiration or exhilaration it gave me when I bought it. Not spending money on things I’ll never use in the first place is its own problem to tackle. But for now, allowing myself to get rid of things that are stressing me out or just taking up valuable space definitely is a good thing.

While on the subject of tidying and change, I thought I would share my goals for 2018. This is my second year using Powersheets to set goals (Powersheets are created by Lara Casey and I’ve written about both of her books- Make It Happen and Cultivate.) I have always made lists and New Years resolutions, and now my Powersheets goals but I haven’t really shared them. But I thought for the purposes of accountability, I would do that this year.

I have 10 goals- and they are pretty vague. I definitely need to work on being more specific. These are more ideals I want to work towards which is fine, but are harder to measure. I definitely have broken these down into smaller pieces to work on each month, week, or day depending on the goal, but looking at them by themselves is a little overwhelming. But I like them as a starting point and will refine them a little each season probably.

  1. Strengthen my personal faith: I took a big first step last year in finding a church that I love, getting involved there, and making it a big part of our family’s week. Still some more exploring I want to get into this year.
  2. Take care of my body and make it strong: I need to take advantage of some great resources I have access to and really focus on my health. I want to be able to keep up with A, no matter what wild adventures she wants to go on.
  3. Make the time to work on things that are important to me: Basically since I moved to SC I haven’t really made my own hobbies, creativity or passions a priority. I used to blog regularly. I started this a year ago and this will be the 5th post. Yikes.
  4. Cultivate our marriage into a strong partnership: While H and I have many strengths in our relationship, one weakness I am acutely aware of is that much of what makes our marriage harmonious is H’s willingness to acquiesce to my stubborn insistence that my way is the right way. I want to be more intentional about being open to his ideas and ways of doing things.
  5. Help H accomplish some important next steps for our future: Professional skills he wants to cultivate, language skills he needs to work on…it may not seem like it belongs as one of my goals, but see above. H tends to follow my lead and not make his own needs a priority. I need to push him to put his own advancement first sometimes– and in the end it will mean advancement for our whole family.
  6. Work on my relationship with each kid- individually: I want to try to spend more individual time with each kid. Especially the twins who are constantly lumped together.
  7. Create some family traditions together: We don’t have many traditions yet that are OURS. H and I have pretty distinct holiday traditions and we haven’t been great at blending them. We mostly do a little of this and a little of that and it feels disjointed. Need to find a way to blend and make it our own.
  8. Be good stewards of our resources: We have to do better at managing our money, but also our time, and our home.
  9. Simplify our lives through decluttering, routines, and realistic expectations: I’ve gotten a good start on the declutter, and I’ve got some ideas for routines that could make our days a little more manageable but I think the most important thing here is my expectations. This is not an episode of Leave It To Beaver and we are not the Cleavers. Nor are we right out of a Currier & Ives or a Norman Rockwell. But I continue to be so easily disappointed. I’ve got to knock that crap out. It’s not helping anyone and it’s only making me miserable.
  10. Grow my skills and responsiblity at work: I’ve been at my job a little over a year now and I think I have a pretty good foundation. But there is a lot to learn, especially from my boss who is a wealth of knowledge. I want to take opportunities to grow this year.

Here’s hoping that my blogging schedule will be closer to once a week than once a quarter, but hey, I’ll take twice a quarter. It’s an improvement. Here’s hoping I can get my priorities in order. Here’s hoping this magic tidying lasts.


Cultivate came out one month ago, and I believe I started reading it the next day.

For someone who has always considered "reader" to be a defining personality trait, I really struggle with the fact that it took me a month to read this.

But that's the season I'm in right now, and ultimately this is a book about seasons. I really like the way this book is structured. Each chapter focuses on a lie that we all believe (and yeah, they pretty much all applied and I think they are pretty universal) and the truth we should believe. In between, there are sections called "Grace from the Garden" and those were far and away my favorite part. They are gardening tidbits littered with parable and family lessons. While I got a lot out of Cultivate as a whole, the Grace from the Garden parts are what I will probably go back and re-read most.

The chapter that hit me in the gut talked about the lie that my life has to look like everyone else's. Comparison is a complete happiness killer and I think lots of new moms will back me up on that. From the minute I announced I was pregnant I was flooded with advice. And while most was good, and all appreciated, I figured out real quick that when it comes to parenting, people think their way is the right way and the only right way.

You almost can't help but feel like you're probably making the wrong decision at every turn. But I am trying hard to let go of comparison. I am doing motherhood my way, and choosing the things that I feel are best for me and my family. And I just have to trust my gut.

But it's not just for me, I have to do if for the other mamas as well. I realized recently that I justify so many parenting choices, without being asked. And when I'm talking with new moms, I might be making them feel like they have to justify their decisions to me. When the topic of breastfeeding comes up, which is more often than you'd think, I practically trip over myself to sputter "…hurricane evacuation… stress… no milk supply" because I am so desperate for them to know, formula feeding wasn't my first choice. I am going to try my best to stop that, because first of all, I don't have to justify myself to anyone. And second of all, I don't want to ever make another mom feel like she needs any reason other than formula feeding was right for her and her baby.

As a side note- I will probably continue to be sarcastic to the women who passive aggressively tell me breast is best while I'm standing in a store with a baby in one arm and formula in the other. I'm trying here, but I'm not a saint.

Whether it's sleep training, potty training, pacifier use, language, or motor skills, we've got to stop comparing ourselves as parents, and worse, our kids. And non-parents and expectant parents should remember to keep their words soft and sweet, lest they have to eat them later. I have certainly eaten plenty of mine. I had every intention of letting A cry it out. And I just can't do it. I think it's great if it works for some people, and I totally see the argument for it. But I can't let her cry. I can't help myself. And if in another year she's got sleep issues and it's all my fault, guess what, I'm the one who has to live with it. She sleeps through the night the majority of the time despite me helping her get to sleep, and I think she's going to turn out okay despite my lack of willpower.

I related everything in Cultivate to marriage and motherhood, because that's where I am in my life but there really is a lot there no matter where you are. Friendships, career, and community are big parts of the book and I really do think that there's something for everyone. I loved the garden metaphors and using the garden to teach so many lessons. I have somehow managed to keep a rose bush alive for about 7 months and now I fancy myself a gardener. Reading Cultivate fueled that so much. I've expanded my porch garden to include herbs, half of which are thriving, and a sunflower which sadly, along with the other half of the herbs is not.

Biggest takeaway? Good things grow in dirt. Despite the fact that we hide out dirt, sweep it out of our houses and pretend everything's shiny. Good things grow in dirt.

Make It Happen


I’m going to take the long way around to telling you about this book.

So, I’m a planner person. I’ve always been a planner person. I actually used the assignment book they gave us in school. I looked forward to what the next year’s would look like. Long after most of the people I knew switched to Google Calendar or iCal, I was still using my planner. Smart phones came around (but until senior year of college I only knew one person who had one) and even more people took their calendars digital, and I stayed loyal to my paper planner. Different brands over the years, eventually landing on Erin Condren. I used Erin Condren planners for about 6 years. Until about a month ago. That’s kind of where my journey to reading Make It Happen starts.

A couple of years ago being a planner person really became a thing. Maybe it happened before that, but that’s when I found out about it. There were stickers and a gazillion accessories, and stamps, and oh be still my heart, the pens. I went down the rabbit hole a little but could never afford to really commit. But over the past 2+ years, my beloved planner that kept me organized slowly started to feel like a stressor. As a girl who used to rip out class notes and rewrite them if I didn’t like my handwriting that day, I found it hard to look at a planner that didn’t look “perfect.” Basically not only was I failing at planning, I was failing at my planner. Yikes.

During my foray into planning as an art form, I had discovered other companies and looked at their planners. I was committed to EC but planners are gorgeous to me. Blank pages with lines to fill out are my catnip. I like filling out the forms at the beginning of the school year or at the doctors office. I just want you to get an idea of the way this stuff pulls me in. Emily Ley’s Simplified Planner is gorgeous, but I was never ready to switch to it. It’s more plain, less accessories. Hence the “simplified”. But I was intrigued by her and her company. I read her blog posts, subscribed to her mailing lists, followed her on social media, and every time she launched a new version I would consider it before ultimately deciding to keep my EC. One of the people that Emily mentions frequently is her friend Lara Casey. And I’m starting to get around to the book that is supposed to be the point of this post.

Lara is the creator of Powersheets, which are a really cool goal planner. When I first looked at them, I didn’t really consider them something I would use. But attracted by the pretty notebooks, stickers, and website, I started to read about Lara, too. I read her blog posts, read reviews of the Powersheets, and I was fascinated.

Here’s the part where I tell you: I read Make It Happen for all the wrong reasons. It was almost voyeuristic. Every blog post I read, every guest post I came across was clear- before starting this successful company, this lady was a mess. A big one. She talked openly about the problems she had faced in school, and in previous business endeavors. She talked about a divorce, and a second marriage that had had so many struggles. Differing faiths, conflicting priorities, ultimately infidelity. And I thought- if THIS LADY can get it together, maybe I can, too. And I had to know more. I had to know how she did it. And to be honest, I wanted to know the rest of the story in a truly gossipy drama-hungry way.

So I downloaded Make It Happen to the Kindle and dove in. I practically reveled in her mess and imperfection. As if it made me less of a mess.

Less than halfway through reading, I ordered a set of Powersheets. I also decided it was time to throw away a planner that was making me feel like a failure. The new Emily Leys had just launched but I couldn’t afford one. But, I managed to find one of last year’s at an online retailer and it goes through this December. It was launch day for the new ones and I paid $10 for the old one.

When both arrived, I sat down and I dove in. No bells and whistles, though I do still color code- now incorporated into both books. For example, teal in my planner indicates an event or task that has to do with the kids (school, sports, doctor appointments) and in my Powersheets I use the same color to indicate a goal has to do with the kids (strengthening our relationship, sleep training A, reading more with F and G). I feel really good when I’m using these books, too, because i like supporting the companies these women have built.

I would be lying if I said my perfectionism isn’t still tearing it’s ugly head. But it’s starting to feel manageable because after reading Make It Happen I feel like I am able to focus more on the things that actually matter. So many of the struggles I was reading about felt so familiar.

An inability to let go of control of every detail of everything. 

The incredible stress I feel when it seems that my faith and my husband’s are at odds. 

Seeking fulfillment in anything and everything in order to avoid looking in the mirror and figuring out what actually mattered. 

Leaving a messily written post-it on my computer instead of re-writing it at the end of the day might seem trivial. It is trivial. But for me, it is a huge step towards accepting that perfectionism gets in the way of a fulfilling life. I can think of dozens of examples of things I found disappointing, not because they weren’t fun or fulfilling but because they didn’t meet my RIDICULOUSLY HIGH expectations. My desire to have a picture perfect family fuels a lack of patience and understanding that I desperately need to build my relationships with F and G.

A marriage between a Catholic and an Episcopalian hardly qualifies as interfaith. But man, some days the differences between what we think and believe seem insurmountable. Especially when deciding how to raise our kids and talk to them about faith.

This book subverted my expectations in two ways. Like I said, I didn’t read it expecting to have it affect the way I think.

First, I generally don’t like books that talk to you or assign you homework. I like to pretend that any epiphanies I’ve had are strictly due to my own thinking.

Second, I have a hard time with what I’ll call here an evangelical way of talking about faith. Growing up in a rural county where everyone I knew went to the big modern contemporary church, and I frequently explained what it was to be an Episcopalian sort of bred a bit of a bad outlook in me. At times, I resented that we were different than other families. Especially in middle school and high school when the last thing you want is to be different than your friends. Funnily enough, I think even if I hadn’t been raised Epsicopalian, it’s where I would have landed eventually. I could write a whole post on my love of the Episcopal church, but that’s for another time. But I generally push back against the more casual ways of talking about God and an individuals own personal relationship with God. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more open to others talking this way. Probably because as an adult when I hear this, it seems more genuine and I have met some people who really seem to strive to live their lives by the principles that they espouse. I can respect that.

I’m almost a month into using my Powersheets and I’m so happy with some changes I’ve started to make. It’s slow going, but good things happen slowly.

And if you want to change, you have to start. Talking about it is all well and good, but you have to take action.

Anne of Green Gables

Let’s just take a minute to laugh heartily about how the last time I posted was January 7, and that I said I’d be posting once a week.

Today is May 10.

I would love to blame my lack of reading/writing on time constraints but mostly, I think I have just been reading the wrong books.

I started Fates and Furies. Twice. Picked up a few others here and there. Nothing really held my attention. I remembered a quote I had saved a while back (which of course now I can’t find despite checking my phone notes, my planner notes, Evernote, Goodreads, and Pinterest and realizing that I’m saving things in too many different places). But the jist was, you should never read a book outside of it’s time for you. That a book that you love when you are 13 might lose its charm at 30 and that a book you didn’t love at 24 might be your new favorite at 48. I decided I was just picking the wrong books.

Normally when I get into a reading rut, I pick up Harry Potter. But this time, I thought I wanted to try something different. I grabbed Anne of Green Gables because I’ve actually only read the series once (unlike HP which I’ve read at least 10 times) and because Netflix has an Anne series coming out this month which I’ve been looking forward to.

I am so glad I did. I read it in a little over a week, which isn’t bad considering my mom was here and then we went to VA. I remembered loving Anne but I didn’t really remember details.

Anne names everything, including the houseplants. She ends her prayers with “Sincerely yours”. She is loyal. She has a temper. She is competitive.

Reading it as an adult, I’m not sure if I identified with Anne as a kid because I was already like her, or if I imitated her. Probably a combination of the two. But I had to smile when I read things that felt familiar. As a kid who had to be touching both of my teddy bears when I went to sleep because I was scared one would feel left out, I understand ascribing human emotion to everything. As a teenager who was apt to refer to both my church and the library as sactuaries, I connect with the sense of solemn spirituality with a dash of irreverence.

In the past few years, I have found myself picking up books because they are classics or on some must-read list. It was so great to go back to something that I just had pure joy in reading. No expectations that it was going to be life changing. No nagging guilt that I didn’t “get it” or that it didn’t speak to me.

One of the traits I most try to imitate in my husband is that he really earnestly loves the things he loves. I realized it a few months after we started dating. We were in my apartment one afternoon and there were music videos playing on TV. “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley came on and he turned to me and said that he loved that song. It took me a minute to realize that he wasn’t kidding. He doesn’t love anything ironically. He just loves what he loves. I try to remember that moment any time I get caught up in wanting to read the next big book or try to get inspired by a book just because it has inspired someone I admire. It’s okay to read the things that bring ME joy and for no other reason.

So I’m a few chapters into Anne of Avonlea. I’ll update soon, but no promises as to when that will be. 😊